Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I Was A Bride Married To Amazement

Gus has been posting some very thoughtful stuff about the perceived "need" for Pagan clergy. In general, I agree with him. My brilliant friend S once said to me that religions begin w mystics. Then, a clergy comes along and sucks all the juice out. I think that's about right.

As an old woman, I want to particularly endorse what Gus says about dying and funerals:

What about dying and burial? As we grow in legitimacy, as we are, it will be increasingly possible for a person's coven mates to visit to be present in the final moments of physical life, should he or she so desire. As to burial, the government has a legitimate interest in making sure dead bodies are disposed of safely, and maybe protecting other public values as well. So long as those standards are met, government should have no say whatsoever as to whether we preach, dance, drink ourselves silly, cry, laugh, or what have you at the final services.

I posted a while back about how I'd like to go when I set off in my burning Viking boat, headed for the Isle of Apples in the West:

"The sisters who are with her today have dressed Shekhinah in her ritual robes and surrounded her with rose petals from her garden. It was exactly the way she'd always said she wanted her final moments to be.

Those same sisters are now singing over her body, and soon they will conduct the ritual washing of the body as they prepare her to go back into the arms of the Mother."

Oh, when I die, dress me in the black gown with the hecate trim. Surround me with herbs from my garden. Tell some jokes. You don't need to wash me; my Mother will take me dirty. Drink all my good wine. Scritch my good, grey cat. Turn on all the lights.

I figure the UUs will rent out their space, and my coven can give the law borg the shock of its life (Please. Make them dance the spiral dance!), and I'll go, as Mary Oliver says, saying:

[A]ll my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms

And the lilacs will say, "Hmm, interesting fertilizer. Do I detect a note of Stoli? A hint of rosemary and orange? Quand meme."


Rhode Island Rules said...

I have told my children to cremate me and put my ashes in fireworks and shoot them off Sand Hill Cove in RI into the Atlantic Ocean. It is where I spent the happiest years of my life. They can visit me there.

Anne Johnson said...

After living through the horror of hearing my dad's eulogy preached by a fundy minister, I quickly decided to engage the right person to see me off.

But I still have a problem. After reading about green burials, I want one! I want to be thrown in a burlap sack and left in the woods for the vultures. Maybe as we become more eco-conscious, this will become possible!

Inanna said...


(Green burials are available near me in upstate NY.)

mamiel said...

HA! This is so funny. I am a Hellenist and had a very similar conversation this week. Do we need clergy? No, I asserted. EXCEPT for when I die, because if there ain't a Hellenist to tell everyone what to do my Catholic family will fill it all up with Jesus! How many funerals have I attended where I have to listen to some one getting up there and lying about what a great Christian so and so was (when they were in fact and atheist)